Notes From Kurdistan

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Democracy as the dominant political system

Abdulla HawezAbdulla Hawez

When the Soviet Union was at the peak of political and economic growth, many of the Communist theorists were arguing that the rest of the world would adopt communism as an ideal system that can bring welfare and happiness to the world’s nations. Now, with the west is the world’s economic and political hegemon, many democratic liberal advocators such as Francis Fukuyama argue that democratic liberalism might be the peak of what humanity can get ideologically and the rest of the world will adopt the western-ordinated liberal democracy; not long, only years after his argument, in 2009 wen the economic crisis hit the United States, Fukuyama published an essay on The Foreign Affairs reviewing his argument: if liberal democracy does not get reformed, other ideologies might replace it.

Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibub & Limongi ague that “once a country became democracy, economic development will have a very strong effect on the survival of democracy”. If this is the case, democracy does not seem to be doing well since the nondemocratic powers such as China and Russia are witnessing much higher economic record than the western world that is living in an economic recession that does not seem to end soon. In a column in November 2013, Thomas Freedman wrote on The New York Times while talking about development in China and Singapore, “It’s not just that we can no longer pull together to put a man on the moon. It’s that we can’t even implement proven common-sense solutions that others have long mastered”. Furthermore, economic development in the nondemocratic countries does not lead to democracy, so economic performance does not necessarily lead to change in the political system, but it will consolidate the system in charge either democratic or nondemocratic.

The voice of critiques of democracy has become louder and they are making some sense. Democracy has become increasingly under serious question marks with many argue that most of the policies of western governments are unpopular policies. Others argue that the voters are ignorant; they cannot choice what can serve them the most. Richard Posner in his book Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy argues that “people are and always will be “basically ignorant” about politics, U.S. democracy should never aspire to be anything other than a means of rotating elites”. Yet, the most notable criticism seems to come from Bryan D. Caplan in his book The Myth of the Rational Voter, he argues that voters might be aware of changes around them, but they always make irrational choices.

Liberal democracy as a political system seems to still attract more people than any other ideology and it seems to remain there for now as no political ideology has emerged that can challenge democracy globally. Democracy might not be the finest political system that humanity has reached, but so far as winston churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

 

* This mini-essay written in late October 2013 as part of my weekly assignments at the University of Kurdistan Hewler.

 

 

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